The most cost effective activity you can undertake as part of your marketing strategy is to identify your target market, properly. Taking the time to produce a complete picture of who your customer is can save you a lot of money in choosing the right methods for engaging with that audience. Grab a big sheet of paper and draw a person. It can be just a stick figure but make sure it has no gender, features etc. Now consider who your ideal customer would be – a common pitfall here can be to just say, “Well everyone could be my customer, anyone would like what I have to offer.” While that may be true, think of a particular customer that you have had that made you wish all of them were like that.

You can’t physically create a strategy to appeal to every person on the planet, and the most cost effective marketing strategy you can implement is to carry out activities that appeal to just your “dream client”, and forget about the rest (for now).

Take into consideration as much as possible, from the obvious male/female, age, education level, income bracket, where they live – and dig deeper:

  • What sort of job would they have? Corporate, retail, full time, casual, business owner?
  • Where would they spend their free time? Are they partiers hitting the clubs on the weekend, or are they taking the kids to the Bluewater Lagoon on a Sunday afternoon?
  • What activities do they do for fun? Listen or play music, read books or magazines, water sports, watch TV, go on road trips?
  • What’s their family situation? Are they married with kids or happy with a couple of dogs? Are they a teenager just starting to date or a 20-something single parent?

You can go further and further into detail, depending on the relevance to what your product or service is. For example, if you sell bed sheets online then you might be thinking about whether your ideal customer is a home owner, renter or investor and whether they are planning on changing that status in the future.

As you continue to grow the picture in your mind of your “dream client”, add the detail onto the person you drew and you will really see them come alive. Strong visualisation, coupled with some tangible imagery, won’t cost anything but your time – but it could give you more of an insight into who your customer is. This will give you a solid foundation to work towards reaching out and engaging with your specific target market – rather than spending unnecessary marketing dollars on saturating an ineffective media.